The three major stakeholders of Kabali to me.
3. Pa. Ranjith:-
Directing Rajinikanth is a pressure in itself. That too when he gets the chance to direct Rajini when he himself wants a rebirth on the screen?! He will be judged. He will be scrutinized. He will be glorified to the top or stamped by foot. Should he have played it safe? No, that is not why he was chosen in the first place. He needed to see Rajinikanth through new glasses which were probably never worn before by anyone. Rajinikanth is a magician but people have only seen him do his parlour tricks lately and were so content with just that. However appealing they were, Ranjith had to move on and set the stage for his next grand act. He had to make Rajini age gracefully with dignity and style on the screen without losing his charisma. He had to tickle the memories of the past with a few adherences to the Superstar expectations but then stick to his movie. He has fit him in a deserving character in a well-researched script.
Good job, Ranjith!
2. Rajinikanth (not Thalaivar) (not Superstar)
This movie does not happen in Rajiniland where Rajini is invincible and everything is so easy to him. He is not immortal. He is not thalaivar. He is not the Superstar. He is a mortal, vulnerable, ageing gangster who is finding his way back. He is the big fish in a dangerous pool and he could be finished anytime by anyone with just one wrong move- not only in the movie, but also figuratively in real life.
Remember the lion Alex from the film Madagascar? Rajini has been that performing lion so far and we have loved his moves like crazy. With years of practice, he perfected it to such an extent that all he has to do is turn up. For once, he wanted to leap out of the cage and hunt like a real lion. It will be slow, devoid of comic reliefs and probably less glamorous. But when the lion pounces on the prey, it fulfills a moment destined for its potential!
He wanted a challenge. He wanted to act in a movie which he can be proud of when he looks deep into the mirror. He had always been successful in giving orgasms to his fans by just fingering them, but is he not more than mere finger tricks?! He has finally said, 'Fuck it. let me act like I am meant to'. By deciding to be a mortal actor, he has discovered himself again in a whole new light with this movie.
Happy for him. Proud of him.
1.The fan (aka me)
I was a kid when I watched Basha. I just wanted to beat up the bad guys with a hand pump. I adored Manick Basha. I was a college student when I watched Shivaji. I wanted to hoot and dance in the front rows and celebrate every moment of the Superstar. I loved Shivaji. I am a young adult (or an old youth) who has travelled a bit, watched some good cinema and understood how fucked up the world is despite loving it. I see Kabali now. I get goosebumps.
I have always wanted to see Rajini like this in the recent years. Acting his age but with the same magical charisma; slipping into a character rather than towering above the movie; avoiding the boyish stunts and gimmicks; and daring to fly out of the golden cage he was locked in. Like he says himself in the movie, the very love that we showed to him has been the biggest load that limited him. He has let it go to take the plunge now and he has an exciting world of characters to choose from here. I want to see more of this Rajini. I am so delighted that this is happening and for that I can accept the few flaws in the movie and gear up for more. Because I know that the more this happens, it will only get better.
Proud of Rajinikanth.